Since we are advocating for a new mixed mode tunnel through Downtown, why not take the extra step of incorporating heavy rail? The WSTT is our chance to relocate the Sounder and Amtrak stops into the actual heart of the city. Imagine seamless transfers between different modes of transportation! Relocating the Amtrak and Sounder station to Westlake Center would be a game changer for regional mobility and intermodal transfers.
For inspiration of what could be, the Cascadia Project envisioned a similar midtown multimodal station.
The poor intermodal connectivity has long plagued the full usefulness of the entire transit network. A rider from Mukilteo traveling to SLU could either take the Sounder to SODO, back track on Link, transfer once again onto the SLU Streetcar or drive directly. The rider could also take a congested bus from SODO to SLU on the streets. Which option do you think our rider would choose? Most likely they would drive. But if the WSTT included a Sounder stop at Westlake Center, our rider could have a much more reasonable commute via public transit.
Cities around the world recognize intermodal stations to be essential. Stockholm is currently relocating its commuter train station (Stockholm City Station) underneath their metro central station (T-Centralen). Closer to home, San Francisco is also currently constructing their multimodal Transbay Transit Center. Why can’t Seattle finally take intermodal connections seriously? Do we Seattleites have to keep pretending we enjoy this gritty masochist mentality that “I can walk the 5 blocks to transfer”?
Additionally, for safety concerns and system resiliency, would it not be prudent to separate the passenger trains from the freight trains within an aging, confined tunnel underneath Downtown? With the Mayor’s recent announcement that Oil tankers will be left to burn in the event of an accident, building a grander WSTT seems all the more imperative.